Stories on a Ronnie Hawkins benefit concert, 'The Very Best of the Police & Sting,' and the Toadies.
Oct. 4 will officially be declared Ronnie Hawkins Day in Toronto and an all-star lineup will perform a tribute concert in his honor that evening. Kris Kristofferson, Garth Hudson (formerly of the Band), the Tragically Hip, Jeff Healey, Tom Cochrane, and Kevin Hearn of the Barenaked Ladies are just some of the performers scheduled for the Massey Hall show.
Hawkins will also be inducted on the Canadian Walk of Fame and be presented with a Key to the City during the day. The veteran performer, who underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer last month, was the lead singer of Ronnie Hawkins and The Hawks, an early 1950s Toronto rock group that included future members of the Band.
-- Jason MacNeil, Toronto
To mark the 25th anniversary of the first Police album, A&M/Universal will release "The Very Best Of... Sting & the Police." Due Oct. 1, the 18-track album is said to be significantly different from A&M's 1997 compilation of the same name, with this one boasting tracks up to and including Sting's latest studio album, last year's "Brand New Day."
Along with Police classics such as "Roxanne," "Can't Stand Losing You," and "Every Breath You Take," the new compilation also features solo Sting material recorded after disbanding the band in the mid-1980s. Among those included songs are "Fields of Gold," "If I Ever Lose My Faith In You," and last year's hit "Desert Rose" featuring Cheb Mami.
Although lower profile, drummer Stewart Copeland and guitarist Andy Summers have also established solo careers following the demise of the Police. Summers has explored his love of jazz on several recordings and is currently on tour, while Copeland had for a long while concentrated on film scoring. As of late he's returned to live performance with the band Oysterhead (featuring Phish's Trey Anastasio and Primus' Les Claypool) and, along with the Cult's Ian Astbury, with the reinvigorated lineup of the Doors.
-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.
Texas-based modern rock act the Toadies is remembered on "Best of Toadies - Live From Paradise," due Nov. 19 via Phoenix-based Aezra Records. Recorded in May 2001 at Boston's Paradise club before the band threw in the towel, the 18-track set features performances of band favorites, as well as the previously unreleased track "ATF," and a cover of the Pixies' "Where is My Mind."
The enhanced disc also features video clips from the performance as well as current interviews with band members. "We felt that the definitive Toadies album had to be captured live," Mark Reznicek, the band's former drummer said in a statement. "We owed it to our fans to give them something special!"
In other news, former Toadies guitarist/vocalist Todd Lewis recently founded the still evolving Burden Brothers with drummer Taz Bentley (Rev. Horton Heat, Tenderloin, Izzy Stradlin). Through a venture with Dallas-based independent label Last Beat, the pair records at its whim with a group of rotating musicians, releasing tracks through its Web site. At the end of the year, the tracks will be compiled onto a limited-edition disc sold through the site.
-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.